Florida Approves Limited Bear Hunting Season

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For years, Florida has enforced strict rules for bear management, however, after the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission met at the end of June, new regulations were created for 2015.

Now, landowners are allowed to remove a bear causing property damage under specific circumstances, and trained security personnel are allowed to use non-lethal methods to scare bear away from public areas without a permit.

Further, the Commission approved a limited bear hunting season in specific locations. The season will last two days—October 24-25, 2015—but could run as long as a week depending on the growth of bear populations.

Hunting permits will cost $100 for residents and $300 for nonresidents. Only one permit is allowed per person, and is good to harvest one bear. Methods for take and shooting hours used for hunting deer will also apply to bears, but hunting with dogs and bait is not allowed. On private property, feeding stations may continue to be used as long as the feed is typically for deer or hogs. To harvest a bear on private land, both the hunter and the bear must be more than 100 yards away from any feeding station. These new rules also make it illegal to sell any parts of a bear or its hide.

Hunters are required to take any harvested bear to an FWC check station within 12 hours. Information will be collected at the check station for the FWC to learn more about the bear population.

The Commission also stressed the importance of continuing to educate people on the risks associated with feeding bear (whether that means bears getting into garbage cans, or the intentional feeding of bears) and how to co-exist safely and sustainably.

For more information, go to myfwc.com/bear.

Photo Credit: Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission via Flickr.

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